According to the Tibetan tradition, the Buddha emanated as Bhaishajyaguru, or Medicine Buddha, thousands of years ago. He established the Tibetan medical tradition in the form of texts known as The Four Tantras of Secret Instructions on the Eight Branches of the Essence of Immortality, which are more commonly referred to as Gyushi, "The Four Medical Tantras."
The master of remedies holds in his right hand a sprig of arura, or chebulic myrobalan, from which much of Tibetan medicine is compounded. His hand faces outward, symbolizing his bestowal of boons. His left hand rests in his lap in the Dhyana mudra and holds an alms bowl. The bowl contains three forms of ambrosia: the nectar that cures disease and resurrects the dead; the nectar that counteracts aging; and the supreme nectar that illuminates the mind and increases knowledge.
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